Nine years ago today the World Trade Center Towers had fallen and our world was no longer the same. While these horrible criminal acts were devastating, the reaction of many Americans has been less than stellar. And the response of the United States government has been greatly out of proportion to what actually occurred in many aspects.

             I will not take your time here to renew my arguments against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the illegal and immoral hellhole at Guantanamo, or the reprehensible ill-titled Patriot Act. I will not rail against the characterization of any efforts to fight terror as a “war” with consequences that have actually reduced our ability to deter terror.

            My quarrel today is with the blatant call to hate answered by so many of our citizens, hate that is blind, irrational and misdirected. That hate targets Islam and its adherents with a blanket appraisal that a religion followed by a billion people is inherently evil and that it strives to subjugate the world and impose its worst traits on us all.

         I addressed Shariah law previously and see no need to defend it here. I have spoken of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, which is neither, I have commented in other contexts on the idiotic Florida pastor who threatened to burn Korans.

         Those contentious developments are all the product of hate. Whatever rationalizations are offered by those expressing anti-Islam sentiment on these issues, there is no doubt hate is the driving force.

          I suppose hate is as American as Mom and apple pie. We hated the Africans we imported as slaves. We hated those former slaves and their progeny when slavery was ended. Generations later mindless violence against these Africans was still often the order of the day.

          Possibly the period most analogous to today was the treatment of Japanese during World War II. It was not only immigrants or naturalized citizens of Japanese descent who were targeted for internment camps or ostracization or other penalties,  This hatred and its consequences was extended to those born here with Japanese blood.

          The same rationale now is applied to Muslims among us, no matter their origin. Muslims in other lands are called derogatory terms and considered a threat to our security, if only in some vague, general way.

          This hate is simply unbecoming to a nation of such diverse make-up and origins of its citizenry. An editorial in today’s Post Gazette spoke to this.

Disunited we stand: Many Americans have let hatred color 9/11
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One of the saddest anniversaries on the nation’s calendar falls today, expressed as always in a grim shorthand: 9/11. The ninth anniversary of that terrible day is this year sadder beyond the remembrance of the more than 3,000 innocents murdered by terrorists.

As if that were not tragic enough, this anniversary is also a requiem to “United We Stand,” the national sentiment of a troubled hour, around which Americans rallied in response to the attack.

On Sept. 17, 2001, with the Twin Towers a ruin, the Pentagon a wreck and a field in Somerset County, Pa., horribly scarred, President George W. Bush went to the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., to make something very clear: “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.”

Just a few days before, he had stood on the rubble of the World Trade Center with a bullhorn in hand and rightly promised vengeance on those who had attacked us. But at the mosque he delivered a postscript that named both the people who were responsible and the people who were not — the Muslim citizens in our midst. Mr. Bush said, “In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.” President Bush is easily faulted for his prosecution of the war on terror, but he got that right.

Yet on this anniversary, many have forgotten that first wisdom. Too eager to hate and lash out blindly, so many Americans refuse to understand.

In New York City, a mosque proposed near ground zero by a Muslim minister who has helped the U.S. government is portrayed as a radical, precisely because so many believe all Muslims are evil or at least suspect. In Florida, the hatred has metastasized into a sick parody of a Christian minister threatening to burn Qurans.

Tragically, disunited we stand. And somewhere Osama bin Laden is laughing and can’t believe his luck. He has always preached that Islam is being attacked by the “Crusaders” and, as it turns out, there’s no shortage of Americans with blanket condemnation of Muslims to validate his propaganda.

In Shanksville, where Flight 93 crashed, first lady Michelle Obama joins former first lady Laura Bush and other dignitaries today in remembering the honored dead of 9/11. Let that show of unity be a lesson to Americans, that we cannot conquer hate with hatred, that we honor the memory of the dead best by upholding America’s values. United we must stand.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10254/1086651-192.stm#ixzz0zH73uZgS

        As much as I disagree with so many of Bush’s policies and actions, his call for understanding was an exceptional example of Presidential rhetoric as a lesson for us all.
         Hate is destructive and too frequently results in aberrational and/or violent behavior. In a way it was trite when first spoken and possibly more so today, but perhaps Rodney King was on to something when he mouthed “Can’t we all just get along?”
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